16 Sep How to get rid of water retention in your legs
If you suffer from occasional swelling in your legs, ankles or feet, it’s probably caused by water retention. Charlotte Gallagher explains how to get rid of water retention in your legs naturally.
If you have water retention in your legs – known medically as oedema* – you probably find that they look swollen or puffy – particularly around your ankles, feet and toes.
If it’s quite severe, you may find your skin in these areas is uncomfortable and could look shiny or stretched – and possibly even a different colour to the rest of your legs – and when you press on the skin, you may notice an indentation remains.
It can be an uncomfortable condition if left untreated, especially when moving about or trying to fit into your favourite shoes. But before you decide how to deal with your water retention, it’s worth taking some time to understand why we get water retention in the first place and what we can do to alleviate it without recourse to pharmaceutical diuretics.
What causes fluid retention?
Oedema has a very wide range of causes including being overweight or pregnant; taking certain medications – particularly blood pressure medicines or the contraceptive pill; eating too much salty food and standing or sitting in the same position for a long time.
It can also be a condition that gets worse during the menopause.
Happily, water retention usually goes away on its own, but if you follow the suggestions in this article and it doesn’t improve within a few days, it would be wise to see your GP.
Although less common, fluid retention in your legs can also be caused by more serious issues such as blood clots or problems with your kidneys, liver or heart.
How can you get rid of water retention?
As much as 70% of your body weight is made up of water and just about every system in our bodies needs water to function.
Sometimes though, your body can hold on to too much water. This is when we develop what’s known as water retention or fluid retention, resulting in that irritating puffiness and swelling in your legs, hands and abdomen area.
Provided you know that you don’t have any underlying health problems that could be causing it, there are simple steps you can take to start to relieve fluid retention in your legs, without having to resort to prescription drugs.
Get moving to alleviate water retention
Gravity naturally pulls blood downwards, so if you’re on your feet all day, the increased pressure inside the blood vessels in your legs causes fluid to leak into those tissues.
If you stand or sit for most of the day, take some time to move around. Whether that means going for a walk during your lunch hour or incorporating some light exercise into your evening routine. Getting your body moving is key as it keeps blood circulating, helping to flush fluid away from ankles and feet.
Cut back on sodium to flush out fluids
Sodium plays an important part in regulating both blood pressure and fluid levels. But you only need a small amount – the NHS recommends adults consume no more than 2.4g of sodium (around 6g of salt) each day.
If you’re struggling with water retention, try to avoid salty and processed foods like crisps, fast food and tinned vegetables. Even fizzy drinks can contain a large amount of sodium – particularly the diet varieties, so try to stick to water or other clear, non-carbonated drinks as much as possible.
Get some extra potassium
Potassium-rich foods help to balance your sodium levels by expelling sodium through the body via urine. Luckily, potassium-rich foods are pretty tasty, and eating more foods such as bananas, spinach and potatoes will all help to boost your potassium levels and keep your urinary system working as it should.
Prop your legs up
Of course, this may not be possible all the time, but if you aren’t able to be very active, it can help by allowing gravity to help to drain the fluid from your lower legs. A great time to do this is while you’re relaxing watching TV or reading a book.
Swollen feet and ankles are more common in the summer or when you’re in clammy, overheated environments. This is because when we’re hot, our blood vessels constrict, so it’s harder for our circulatory system to get blood back to the heart.
If you find your ankles looking puffy, try wearing cooler clothing and keeping your body temperature as well-regulated as possible.
Try a natural way to get rid of water retention
If you’re looking for a natural answer to the question of how to get rid of water retention in your legs, feet and ankles, HRI Water Balance™ is a brilliant natural choice.
One of our most popular and long-standing products, HRI Water Balance contains powerful active extracts of dandelion herb, Uva-Ursi leaf and Buchu leaf, to offer quick relief from bloating and water retention.
Just four tablets a day offer a gentle herbal alternative to pharmaceutical medicines, which can cause side effects such as diarrhoea and headaches.
HRI Water Balance is approved under the Traditional Herbal Registration scheme, through the government regulator, the MHRA.
So if you want to reduce water retention in your legs, why not give these top tips a go?